Treatment of hepatocyte-hepatoma hybrid cells with Clostridium botulinum C2 toxin led to a 167% increase in monomeric globular actin (G-actin) and to a 57% decrease in filamentous actin (F-actin) within 2 h. Simultaneously, the level of actin mRNA was specifically decreased to 49% and actin synthesis was significantly diminished. In contrast, treatment of hybrid cells with phalloidin led to a decrease in G-actin to 55% and to a reciprocal increase in actin mRNA to 244% and an increase in actin synthesis. These alterations of actin synthesis depending on the G-actin/F-actin ratio corresponded to the autoregulation of actin synthesis observed in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes. Microinjection of C2 toxin or of phalloidin into hepatocyte-hepatoma hybrid cells had the same effects on actin synthesis as incubation with either toxin in the culture medium. Microinjection of non-polymerizable ADP-ribosylated G-actin into hepatocyte-hepatoma hybrid cells specifically decreased the incorporation of [35S]methionine into newly synthesized actin within 1 h. This decrease continued for at least 19 h. Microinjection of ADP-ribosylated actin led to rounding of cells and obvious disaggregation of actin filaments, which might be due to capping of actin filaments by the ADP-ribosylated actin. Because stabilization of actin filaments by phalloidin before microinjection of ADP-ribosylated actin also resulted in decreased actin synthesis, the concentration of monomeric G-actin seems to be responsible for the regulation of actin synthesis in hepatocyte-hepatoma hybrid cells, which can be regarded as immortalized hepatocytes.

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